Our Real Job Is Fulfilling Our Potential

It’s always awkward when I tell people about my work schedule. On the one hand, some folks think trained monkeys work harder than I do. I tell them how a philosophy Ph.D. is hardly a full-time job for me because my mental state of being a zombie after four hours of deep work is a daily […]

5 Lessons from Year 26

Today is my 26th birthday. Ever since I was small I imagined grown-up me as a wise university professor with a grey beard. I will remember this year as the year I decided to stop pursuing an academic career. I love being a (non-academic) writer a lot more. I’ve also changed my mind about more important things. For […]

The Empowerment Paradox: Why Mastery Won’t Set Us Free

If I increase my ability to reach my goals, that’s a good thing, right? Not always. There’s a surprising way in which empowerment can come full circle and become powerlessness. How to achieve a goal Let’s see getting what you want as a two-step process: Discover what the cause-effect relationships that govern reality are Figure out how to set theright cause-effect […]

Life’s Most Uncomfortable Question and Two Ways to Answer it

I thought it was a gift from heaven. About two years ago, some uni was crazy enough to offer me a position as PhD-candidate in philosophy. Ever since I was small I imagined grown-up me as a wise university professor with a grey beard. And landing a spot at a top-50 uni is hard. I was […]

Sleepwalking Through Life

People say we live in bubbles and echo-chambers and wait I thought echoes were about babies. I don’t think that’s true (I’m not sure about the babies part). There’s more confrontation with those characters who have other opinions than ever. If you don’t buy it, just ask your grandmother how many non-Christians, or non-Muslims, or […]

Self-Improvement Doesn’t Have An End, It Is The End

I like Mark Manson. Apart from Wait But Why, at which Tim Urban never posts anything anymore anyway, he’s the only blogger whose new articles I check out immediately. And his paperback Models — which sounds like a dating manual but is so much more than that — is probably the best self-help book I’ve read. I used to agree with him that self-improvement is […]

The Rationalist’s Mistake: How (Not) To Miss The Extraordinary

I have always had a tight bond with reason. This is an intimate part of my identity, and for the most part, it has led me in the right direction. When I was young, for example, I dreamt of being like Sherlock Holmes. Extremely rational and not contaminated with these inconvenient things called feelings: “All […]

You Cannot Talk About Self-Improvement Without Talking About Values

There’s a question that has been on my mind a lot lately: What difference does self-improvement make? In what way(s) does engaging in self-improvement make my days and life go different compared to the life of someone who doesn’t bother? To paint a picture, let’s look at Joe. Joe’s routine is rather stable: He goes to […]

How To Really Win The Afternoon

2PM is too early to go home, isn’t it? A lot — and I mean, a lot — has been said about morning routines. I’ve been told by every self-improvement writer and their mothers to get up earlier and eat a protein-rich breakfast and to not break the fast and also kale smoothies. My view is that it’s largely smoke and mirrors because […]

How Andy Won The Game Of Life

The Shawshank Redemption is the most gripping film I’ve ever seen. It tells the story of an innocent man’s (Andy) hell in prison, his unusual friendship with an inmate and prison contraband smuggler serving a life sentence (Red), the former’s miraculous escape and the friends’ reunion as free men. My favorite scene is a very short one. It features Andy in the prison […]